Updated 10/10/2012 04:59 PM
Expansion at Canandaigua Airport
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"Right now, I fly an airplane that can legally depart this runway. We do it all the time," said Jill Werth, Canandaigua Air Center.
But if a plane departing Canandaigua Airport needed to stop quickly, there could be trouble.
"The runway right now the length is not enough,” Werth said.
Because of that, most jets stay away.
“We average probably one jet in here a week."
Airport officials say that's about to change.
"Thank you very much for being here on this incredible, exciting and historic day,” said Mike Manikowski, Ontario County Industrial Development Agency.
Plans are in the works for a major runway expansion, from the current 3,200 feet to 5,500. Economic development officials praise the move as necessary to attracting more corporate air traffic.
"It will help attract other corporations to Ontario County, bring their corporate aviation here; hopefully their corporate headquarters will follow,” Manikowski said.
The announcement alone has already brought interest from several corporations. Established entities, like Canandaigua-based high tech center STC, stand to benefit.
"I generally get a phone call from whoever the investor is backing the science, and the first question I get is, ‘where's your closest airport?’" said Paul Tolley, STC executive director.
Corporate travelers who would otherwise have to fly into Rochester like to get in and get out.
"Time is money, and the ability to land here, drive a mile, meet with us and get back to New York is absolutely critical,” Tolley said.
The airport runway expansion is being made possible with a $7 million federal grant. If all goes according to plan, the extension of the runway should be completed by the end of 2013.
"It won't happen, but you could accommodate even a small airliner. You won't see that here, but any corporate aircraft could utilize the facility,” Werth said.
"If we want to grow Ontario County in a tech-based world, we need to be able to provide this service,” said Manikowski.
The runway expansion has faced its hurdles. Past politicians opposed it. Funding was hard to come by. Some thought it might never happen.
That's no longer a concern.